Road trip into Autumn

The directions had been studied carefully, bags packed and, most importantly, camera batteries were fully charged and sketch books and pencils ready for action. It was a perfect autumn day, clear blue sky, soft drift of a breeze and hardly any traffic on the motorway. Time to head south…

“Shall I plug Siri in?” Jack asks.

“No need” I confidently reply, “I know the way. Straight down the M1, then turn inland onto the Bruxner Highway”. With ideal driving conditions we cruise along the highway.

Suddenly I see the sign for Grafton “This is where we find the Bruxner Highway” I say, and take the turn off ramp.

That is my first mistake….

I keep going. No signs about inland or Bruxner Highway. I start to get a bit worried, I am renowned for being directionally challenged, but it looked so straight forward on the map.

“Ok, I’m putting Siri on” says Jack. “Make a U-turn when possible” says Siri. I IGNORE her…

Second mistake…

“There must be a right turn just up ahead”, I confidently say.

Third mistake…

Then we come to the major road works. The M1 is being upgrade to a 4 lane motorway and the existing, narrow 2 lane  M1 snakes along between heavy construction on both sides. Siri now starts urgently telling us to turn left. “That can’t be right , that way goes back to the ocean and anyway the road works have now blocked all roads turning left “.  With cars in convoy in front and behind I have no option but to keep going. Then the river appears on the right hand side. The BIG, wide Richmond river. “Must be a bridge soon”. Then we swoop past a bridge under construction. Oh, oh, not looking good. We start to niggle at each other.

Then suddenly we both see, in the distance, a bridge. A very narrow, hump back bridge. I have no idea where it will take us, but it will be over to the inland side of the Richmond River. With relief we cross it and the road becomes a narrow, unsealed lane. But Siri seems happy with this road and tells us in so many kilometres we will arrive at Casino.

What we need is a coffee, and a toilet stop. So keeping our eyes peeled we keep going with a cloud of dust following behind us. Thankfully we reach the sealed road again and then just look what we found…

tenterfield day 1-5_4000x3000A delightful picnic area with a toilet block, BBQ’s, boat ramp and a resident family of magpies. Alongside the Richmond River. Out comes the thermos and the chocolate biscuits.

The catchment area of the  Richmond river is estimated at 6,862 square kilometres (2,649 sq mi), which makes it the sixth largest catchment in New South Wales; and its floodplain has an area of over 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi).

Feeling much better now we drive slowly on enjoying the interesting countryside. Stopping regularly to take photos.

This is cattle country and there used to be a dairy cattle industry, but judging by all the dilapidated and rusting sheds, that is no longer a major industry.

tenterfield day 1-2_5082x3812

Now it is beef cattle that dominate the landscape. Time is forgotten as we keep pulling over on this almost deserted road, happily taking photos. Then I notice a ute coming toward us and slowing down. It stops in the middle of the road next to us. “Are you ok?” the ute driver leans over and calls out through the open window. Her dogs jump up at the window, tails wagging.

tenterfield day 1-3_5184x3888We share a few minutes pleasantries before she drives off. Isn’t that lovely, that is what country hospitality is. It gave us a warm glow as we travelled on toward Casino.

tenterfield day 1-11_3000x4000 Casino is an interesting town, known as the “beef capital” of Australia. We stop for a leg stretch and a look around this interesting place. (I will leave Casino for another post.)

Casino is a pleasant country service centre on the Richmond River. It has a large number of interesting historic buildings, particularly in Walker and Barker Streets, which range from Victorian times through to the Art Deco era of the 1930s. Today Casino calls itself ‘The Beef Capital’. It has an official Beef Week which is held each May – the ‘week’ actually lasts for 12 days. With a population of around 12,000 it is a thriving rural centre which relies heavily on the region’s cattle industry combined with the local timber industry. To appreciate the scale of the local cattle industry the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange is the largest saleyard in northern New South Wales.

tenterfield day 1-4_4324x3391

It is just over 100 kilometres from Casino to Tenterfield. Destination is getting nearer.

Then we round a bend and over a hill there is Tenterfield.tenterfield day 1-12_4000x3000It is golden hour and the autumn leaves shine like beacons. I am happy, this is what I have come here for. But first to find our accommodation. Belvedere House cannot be missed it stands tall in Rouse Street the main street in town.tenterfield day 1-14_3837x2878What a beautiful heritage building. Originally a bank. But I will tell you more about our accommodation in another post, because now it is just on sunset and after meeting our hostess, Elizabeth, we wanted to watch the sunset from the turret at the top of the building.tenterfield day 1-10_5184x3888

As dusk descended we went for a walk along the main street. It was almost deserted. There was a stillness and old world charm to the buildings. An occasional cattle truck rattled past with its distinct cattle odour drifting by with it. In Bruxner park, in the centre of the street, a tree with blood-red autumn foliage was draped with fairy lights twinkling up the trunk and a man sat engrossed with his mobile phone.tenterfield day 1-17_3000x4000I think I am going to fall in love with this place…tenterfield day 1-16_4000x3000I am linking this post to Cathy over on the blog “wander.essence” She poses the question “what calls you to a place”. Well for me this road trip was all about seeing the colours of Autumn. If you have a past or future trips you might like to share it with Cathy’s community


  1. Nothing that a cuppa and chockie bickie won’t fix.

    That looks fabulous, Pauline. I’m getting itchy feet seeing your post.

    We visited Tenterfield in the Winter, and there was barely a soul in the street. We stayed at the pub and boy it was noisy there. All. Night. Long.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew when you said no need for the GPS we were in for an adventure.
    Still I was a bit Gpsed off when I plugged Siri in and you ignored her.
    But as always it turns out great if you don’t get too excited.
    You have your work cut out you have only toutched the tip of the ice berg.😎

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A bit of a hairy start but you made it, Pauline. Of course! 🙂 🙂 The surroundings so very different from those of your home, and thereby enchanting. Yes, I can see you falling a little in love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. SatNav or not, your sense of adventure comes winging across the world to brighten a very dull morning in Shropshire. Fascinating and alluring views along the way too. So much to see. Have a lovely day, both.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this road trip piece, Pauline. You really had an interesting drive, seeing delightful things along the way, and ignoring Siri at your own peril. You did make it though! I hope you don’t mind if I post this on my next “Journey” post scheduled for April 18, as this is more about the journey. I love a road trip!! Thanks for sharing this fun adventure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Me thinks you were guided to that picnic spot.. Just the place… And all roads eventually lead us to where we want to be… Lovely to see you on your travels again.. What a great place and lovely pictures.. And how neighbourly of that driver to stop and ask if you were OK.. Not many do that these days.. Well here they don’t 😀

    Loved those skies too.. Enjoy both of you and happy to at last be back in my reader and spot your post Pauline.. Have a great weekend both of you ❤ Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve had a satnav when I had a company car, but never one I’ve owned, but it’s quit difficult to get really lost over here. Your ‘diversion’ turned out beautifully and isn’t it fab when the place you’ve chosen is just right?

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  8. Tenterfield – years ago, I drove in from the east, along a road arched naturally by trees on both sides of the road. A very welcome drive in. Naturally visited the saddler and bought a belt. That looks like a majestic BNB. Have a great time.

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  9. Lombardy poplars! They do well along creeks that flow through the Mojave Desert, and really contrast with the desert when they turn so bright yellow in autumn. There are also plenty of other poplars out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t always listen to my SatNav either, especially when she insists I go down a single track lane! My theory being that you can never actually get ‘lost’ as the road always leads to somewhere, even if it is not the somewhere you are heading for!

    I know the smell if the passing cattle truck all too well. In fact I hardly notice the ‘country’ air now. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The beginning of this post really made me laugh Pauline as I remembered travelling south with you early one evening in June 1990 when you were in the UK, with me driving and you map reading (big mistake!!!) and travelling up and down, backwards and forwards on the same road many, many times with you insisting that there was a crossroads where we needed to turn off. After about an hour and going over a flyover bridge for the umpteenth time we looked down to find that the road we needed to be on was directly underneath us! After much hilarity we found somewhere to turn off and almost immediately found ourselves in the lovely village of Elstow, Bedfordshire – the birthplace of John Bunyan. We stopped and had a lovely walk round this delightful village. Serendipity indeed, and another occasion when going wrong turned out to be so right. So pleased to know that while you are still “directionally challenged” you still have the ability to end up in the right places. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • So lovely to hear from you Margaret, brings back many memories. I will send an email soon. Hope your weather is improving and spring has arrived in Yorkshire


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